DIYdiy projects

diy project: anneli’s rag pillows

by Grace Bonney

this fun project comes from d*s reader anneli martin of bird and lard. anneli had an old bed linen and a duvet cover that she didn’t want to throw away, so she cut them into one inch strips and crocheted these two giant floor pillows. i think the result is fantastic, and definitely a great way to spend a cold winter day indoors. anneli was kind enough to share the full project steps after the jump- happy crocheting!

CLICK HERE for the full project steps for anneli’s rag pillows

Anneli’s Rag Pillows


-1 old cotton bed sheet or a fitted sheet
-1 10mm crochet needle
-Matching fabric for the pillow
-Sewing machine
-Matching thread

Step 1 – Cutting

Step 2 – Crocheting the circle

Step 3 – Sewing the “Under pillow”

Step 4 – Stitching the crocheted pillow to the under pillow.

Old bed sheets are the best materials for this project because multiple washing makes the fibers more durable and resistant to tear since it will have raw edges.

Start cutting the sheet in a circular pattern. You want a continuous ribbon and no sharp corners. Strip should be a little less than one inch wide.

Once your sheet is transformed into a giant yarn ball, you can start crocheting.

To make a flat circle you need to increase each round. I don’t use a formula, I just increase as I go but this link can be useful for some tips.


You want the center to be pretty solid so don’t make the first chain too long, 3 link stitches should be enough to close the circle and start going around. I used the basic single stitch to keep it tight.

Crocheting will take very little time when using such thick material and a large needle.

One bed sheet will make about 30 inch circle.

Use your crocheted circle to measure the fabric you picked to match the top .

Cut two circles of fabric that are about ½” inches larger than the finished project.

Sew the front and back of the pillow together with the right sides of the fabric facing each other, leaving a 4 inch section open.

Turn the pillow in-side-out through the hole. Use your hands to gently pull the fabric through the hole.

Stuff with generous amounts of fiberfill. Fill until the pillow is as puffy as you desire.

Sew the hole closed using a needle and thread.

Finally hand stitch the crocheted top to your pillow around the edge.

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  • I never learned how to knit, but crocheting is one thing I can do! What a great project this is… the results are outstanding. I can just picture a few of these stacked in the corner of my living room. Thanks for sharing!

  • would love to do this with all the baby’s old shirts and onesies that are not going in the save pile. is it hard to crochet? can you do it with smaller pieces of fabric?

  • Another great project that I’m going to do :-) I’ve been wanting floor pillows, but not wanting to spend 40+ bucks on each one! Thanks!

  • To Julia. . Thank you. With small pieces of clothing you will have too many knots. This is why large fabric works so well.

  • I wonder if there’s a way that I can convert an old braided rag rug (my grandmother made it, but it is worn and has holes in it) into pillows.

  • I love it. I was just admiring some huge knitting and was wondering how I could pull it off. I love the idea of cutting up old linens. I’m going to do this.

  • They look great! I have always wondered about knit or crocheted pillows, why are they only on one side? Is fabric advantageous on the other side, or is it just to cut down on crafting time?

  • To Stacy: Cutting takes most of the time, 4-6 hrs. Crocheting is easy, 2 hr max and you’re done! :)

  • Love it! Not too time consuming (well if I just would find a day for myself) and the end result is amazing. Very tempting to try it!
    And I just discovered a great new website :)

  • Nice but looks like so much work. I think I’d need someone to show me how to crochet first. Actually I have a friend who is literally a crochet artist…

  • ohhhh, wow! my grandma ruby lived to be 101. in the last years, after she lost her sight, she made these rag rugs like a wild woman. we must have a 100. i hate the idea of stepping on them, but this is a lovely way to let her rugs live on… thank you!!!

  • They look fantastic! I’m just wondering, though–wouldn’t the edges fray after you cut the sheet?

  • Wonderful idea Anneli! You have always been so very creative! Thanks for sharing!

  • DIY project: How to make THIS pillow (shown on the left) out of THIS cat (shown on the right)… ;-)

  • I love this! And yes, it would mean tapping into some old, rusty crochet skills, but this might be just the reason for a little practice.

  • To misha: Thank you! this is why the material has to be old and washed previously multiple times. The fibers have been bonded together tight. When crocheted it is very strong , the only weak parts to worry about will be the sewn parts when using a duvet cover for example.

  • Your cat is fantastic! I’ve never seen so much fur on a kitty. I think I would have to train him to sit on my feet when it’s chilly :)

    Your cushions are very clever too!

  • What a fabulous yet simple project! Will defly try it out soon. I am worried that cutting an entire sheet into strip is going to be painful.

  • i do this too, but i rip the cloth
    and sew the strips together.
    yours look fabulous. i also make rugs this way. majel

  • These are awesome! I’m really enthused about this project, it’s next on my list. I’ll be linking as well. And how much do I *love* your kitty?!?!

  • Your cat looks like my roommates’ – a Himalayan…very friendly and very furry.

    I am going to try to make these pillows!

  • I had a vintage yellow and white sheet in my closet for months that I bought it at a thrift store on a whim. I just spent the last two days cutting it down and learning to crochet- thanks for inspiring me to learn a new skill ;-) It’s not as pretty as yours, but I still love it!

  • I have used this same idea to make good thick mats which I use in the bathroom and doorways. Great for absorbing water and dirt. I then just throw them in the washing machine. The edges don’t fray.

  • so felicitous! i finally had to give up an old sheet set last week, but of course i was saving the fabric for….something. a muslin for my next pattern? a jacket lining? nope…a floor cushion!!! i just need a big enough crochet needle.

  • Just finished cutting up a queen sized flat sheet! FYI – the cutting alone took nearly 5 hours… anyone have any tricks for faster cutting??

  • I am definitely going to make one of these soon. I think they would be very useful for new mums that have to sit a lot on the floor playing. Love it!

  • Maybe chalking out a continuous cut line on your sheet and then using a box knife or fabric cutter would be faster than using scissors. Definitely a great project and a use for all my old sheets that are a little worn!

  • This is a great idea and now my granddaughter wants me to teach her to crochet to make pillows for her toddler’s room. Wonderful that folk still like to do these things.

  • Just finished crocheting the circle! Ah what a project, i had no idea what i was doing but so far so so good. I had never crocheted before and just watched videos on your tube. Thanks for the lovely idea.

  • Hi, This is a great project. I’ll have to learn how to crochet… but a great incentive :) What size of bed sheet makes the approx. 30 inch pillow? I would transform the pillow into dog beds for dashounds and a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks for posting this project.

  • for faster cutting, you could carefully fold the sheet and use a rotary cutter to slice strips.
    for smaller clothes, like t-shirts–cut them in a spiral so as to make the longest strips possible :)

  • Never crocheted, but willing to learn…..how long would one of these take assuming I picked up the basics relatively quickly?

  • thank you so much for the great tutorial, Anneli, & Grace for posting this. i’ve been searching for a how-to on this sub for ages.
    i was wondering however, if one could use scrap paper gone through the wolf as stuffing as well? thought it’d be a bit cheaper, but not quite sure about it staying in shape and what-not. ideas anyone? :)

  • Inspired by Anneli Martin, I made a smaller version of this wonderful rag pillow, 28cm in diameter. I thought that little ones can use it to sit on in winter when all the floors in the house are freezing cold. I may add that my little girl, 3.5 year old, is loving it… I love the idea of using different fabrics when knitting or crocheting, it certainly adds texture… I absolutely love it, thank you to Anneli and Design Sponge for sharing it…

  • Love this! You could use flannel sheets in the case of living in colder climates. This project would be great to make on a smaller scale for seat cushions on my bistro set. It would be very easy to add small ties to secure them.

  • I love this project! Thank you for sharing! Just a quick question, (Im a newbie to crocheting), are you working in only the back stitch?

  • These pillows are perfect I love DIY projects and hate to be wastefull. I actually have the same breed of cat only he is grey and white, and he is just as snooty as he looks but he loves these pillows thank you for the great idea !!

  • What a wonderful wonderful idea for using old sheets! I have so many and couldn’t throw them away. Thanks for such a great idea!